Toronto, January 8: A cab company in Canada has been ordered to pay more than C$400,000 in compensation to a wheelchair-bound passenger who suffered due to their Indian-origin driver's negligence. Jane Stillwell got ejected from her wheelchair and suffered significant injuries when driver Gurdeep Singh Sohi made an "abrupt and hard brake" to avoid collision with another car in 2018.
The car ahead of Sohi, employed with Richmond Cabs Ltd, had braked to avoid hitting a raccoon, the Richmond News website reported recently. Stillwell will also get C$171,470 for her future care and C$10,423 in special damages, making the total $406,893, the British Columbia Supreme Court said in a judgment issued on December 27, 2023. In a trial lasting for more than nine days, the court heard that Sohi had picked up Stillwell from the Richmond Hospital to take her to her residence in Steveston in March 2018. Google Agrees To Pay USD 74 Million Yearly to Canada News Publishers To Keep News in Search Results.
Stillwell, who relies on a power wheelchair due to muscular dystrophy, was ejected from the wheelchair as Sohi applied brake, resulting in injuries including whiplash, bruising, lacerations, a broken nose and multiple fractures in her lower body. She was hospitalised for two weeks and experienced a loss of muscle strength and function.
In her lawsuit against Richmond Cabs Ltd and Sohi, Stillwell claimed the two were negligent and liable for her injuries, which happened when Sohi hard braked to avoid colliding with a car at Railway Avenue in Richmond city of British Columbia. She argued that the two were negligent in not affixing her three-point wheelchair seatbelt that would have secured her body in place and he should have at least asked if she needed help doing so. Canadian Government Plans To Maintain Immigration Levels at 5 Lakh Per Year in 2026.
In their defence, Richmond Cabs and Sohi said they did not breach any standard of care regarding his driving and said the law has not recognised a standard of care to assist an adult with fastening their seatbelt. Further, the two said that Stillwell contributed to the incident by failing to secure a belt attached to her wheelchair.
In her ruling, Justice Francesca Marzari wrote: "This was particularly devastating for Ms Stillwell, as the maintenance of muscle strength and function has been a lifelong fight against the effects of muscular dystrophy." She found Sohi was "more likely than not" consistently going faster than the 50 kmph speed limit and was "travelling close enough that a very hard braking manoeuvre was required to avoid colliding with that vehicle when it came to a stop".
Further, Marzari noted it was "uncontroversial" that Sohi did not affix the wheelchair seatbelt and found Stillwell would not have been able to do so herself due to her position. According to the judge, Sohi breached the standard of care owed to Stillwell by not securing the three-point wheelchair seat belt, which is included in the training materials for wheelchair taxi drivers and supported by expert evidence.
"This is particularly true in these circumstances, where Mr Sohi knew that passengers with disabilities require more care to be taken, and that he knew that his passenger in this case was not properly restrained," Marzari wrote in her judgement.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 08, 2024 11:16 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).